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Shirley watched it intently as though the experience
would be of use to him during future operations.

At five-thirty next morning our Brigade renewed
the attack on Fontaine-les-Croiselles, but we remained
in reserve. Enveloped by the din of the bombard-
ment I leaned my elbows on the parapet and looked
at the ridge. A glowing red sun was rising; the low
undulant hills were grey-blue and deeply shadowed;
the landscape was full of gun flashes and drifting
smoke. It was a genuine battle picture, and I was
aware of its angry beauty. Not much more than a
mile away, on the further side of that menacing slope,
lines of muttering men were waiting, strained to an
intolerable expectancy, until the whistles blew and
the barrage crept forward, and they stumbled across
the open with the good wishes of General Allenby
and the bad wishes of the machine-guns in the Ger-
man strong-posts. Perhaps I tried to visualize their
grim adventure. In my pocket I had a copy of a
recent communique (circulated for instructive purposes)
and I may as well quote it now. "That night three
unsuccessfol bombing attacks were made on the
Tower at Wancourt. During the Battalion relief next
night, the enemy opened a heavy bombardment on
the Tower and its immediate vicinity, following it up
with an attack which succeeded, mainly owing to the
relief being in progress. A local counter-attack de-
livered by the incoming battalion failed owing to the
darkness, pouring rain, and lack of knowledge of the
ground. It was then decided that nothing could be
done till daylight." The lesson to be drawn from this
episode was, I think, that lack of Artillery preparation
is a mistake, , , t The Wancourt Tower was only a